François Cluzet, who looks like Daniel Auteuil and runs like Dustin Hoffman, simmers beautifully as a Paris pediatrician who, eight years after the brutal murder of his beloved wife (Marie-Josée Croze), receives an e-mailed video purporting to show her alive. His search for her or her captors is, to understate the situation, complicated by their search for him and the growing suspicions of the police—who reopen the case after two more corpses pop up—that the doc is his wife's killer. That I can't parse the plot of Tell No One without recourse to multiple subordinate clauses gives you some idea of the labyrinthine twists in Guillaume Canet's soignée adaptation of Harlan Coben's rather less-elegant crime thriller. Among the movie's many delights are the fluctuating rhythms of its pacing, an atmospheric volatility that sets off the doctor's blooming paranoia against his sunlit, leafy surroundings, and a terrific cast that includes Kristin Scott Thomas as a bitchy lesbian with heart and a quietly funny François Berléand as an obsessive-compulsive detective. Canet's grasp of the way institutional and personal corruption feed on each other is sure, though his excursion into France's racial wars gilds the lily of a plot that already creaks with complication. Crucially, though, the love story at the movie's heart is flat, cliché, and much less engaging than the satisfying mixed motives of its lively supporting characters.
Cluzet can't clear his name.
Opens at Harvard Exit, Fri., July 11. Not rated. 125 minutes.